Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen have been chatting about bringing the brooding literary Mr Darcy to life. 

Not only are Colin Forth and Matthew Macfayden a pair of very fine British actors, they’ve also both played the role of Mr Darcy, the scowling literary hero from Pride & Prejudice. Both actors set many hearts aflutter with their respective turns, and with the pair currently doing the rounds for WWII drama, Operation Mincemeat, they’ve been chatting to Vanity Fair about their interpretations of the iconic role.

Succession star Macfayden went first, revealing that “I played him like a sort of grumpy adolescent, probably because I felt quite grumpy because I was scared.” Firth echoed that sentiment, agreeing that “I think I did too, actually,” he said. “He’s scared. ‘This place isn’t good enough. I’m not dancing in a place like this.’ It’s because he’s afraid to dance.”

Both actors were praised for their performances at the time of each adaptations release, but despite their turns being remembered fondly, Macfayden said that they didn’t compare notes when making Mincemeat. “I don’t think we did that,” he recalls. “I remember saying there is this sort of weird pressure that comes with playing stuff like that. I think we touched on that briefly, but we didn’t talk about it.”

In a gracious manner of which Darcy himself would be proud, Firth, who starred in the multi-part BBC adaptation, ultimately expressed that Macfayden was faced with the harder task, explaining “it’s much more challenging to do it as a feature film. Because if you do a six-parter, you’ve got six hours to put it all in and let it unfold at a pace, which is closer to that of a book”.

“I think what was masterful about Matthew’s interpretation was that he did manage to tell that whole story in a more condensed form. And I think that’s very difficult because it’s so dependent on a slow reveal.”

Personally, we thought they were both pretty wonderful although we don’t feel the need for a multiverse-style Pride & Prejudice film featuring both iterations of the character (and maybe some zombies). Just putting that out there because it’s probably in development somewhere. You can catch Operation Mincemeat which is on general release right now.

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